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VOL. 124 | NO. 5 | Thursday, January 8, 2009

Daily Digest

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Aldi Buys C’ville Property For New Grocery Store

Aldi Inc. has paid $1 million for 2.6 acres of land along West Poplar Avenue in Collierville, where it will build a 17,000-square-foot grocery store this year. The Batavia, Ill.-based grocer, operating locally as Aldi Collierville LLC, bought the property in two parcels from Martin and Mildred Tippit in late 2008.

The property is on the south side of West Poplar Avenue, just east of the U.S. 72-Tenn. 57 split. Aldi spokeswoman Martha Swaney said the property’s location – along the busy Poplar Avenue corridor in Collierville – was ideal.

“That was a major driver for us,” Swaney said. “Aldi is typically very successful in competitive areas. Certainly we consider the Collierville location to be a competitive location, but also we want to be in areas where we’re conveniently located near our customer base and where our shoppers are shopping and running other errands as well.”

Swaney said the company will invest $3 million on the project, including land purchase, site work and construction.

The Shelby County Assessor of Property’s combined value of the parcels is nearly $1.1 million: One parcel is a 1.16-acre parcel at 523 W. Poplar Ave. valued by the assessor’s office at $628,700; the other is a 1.45-acre lot valued by the assessor’s office at $470,600.

The transaction also included a quitclaim of the property from the Tippits to Aldi Collierville, and a reciprocal easement agreement dated Dec. 31, 2008, was signed between Aldi Collierville and Arkansas-based Real Practices Inc., which owns a 1.41 acre parcel to the east of Aldi’s land.

Aldi has nine stores in the metropolitan area, including seven in the city of Memphis. The Collierville store, the company’s first in the town, will include 10,000 square feet of retail space with the remainder for storage.

“We have a significant presence (in Memphis), but we’re always looking to add additional locations to provide added convenience for our customers, and we’re certainly always looking to grow,” Swaney said.

There is no set timeline for construction, as Aldi is still working with town officials on its plans. Narramore Associates Inc. of Greenville, S.C., is architect; Aldi has not yet selected a contractor.

“Overall, we’re really looking forward to opening up the Collierville location and encourage everyone to come out and see us as soon as our doors open,” Swaney said.

Source: The Daily News Online & Chandler Reports

Union Ave. Chick-fil-A On Tap for LUCB

A request for a use variance is on tap today for the city-county Land Use Control Board meeting that would allow Chick-fil-A to put a driveway and off-street parking for a proposed restaurant at the corner of Union Avenue and Rembert Street.

Also scheduled to be discussed today by the LUCB is the proposed Lakeview Estates Planned Development, which calls for a 100-unit apartment complex for senior citizens in one three-story building on the east side of Tillman Street and the north side of Johnson Avenue.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. in the City Council chambers at 125 N. Main St.

General Sessions Civil Court To Close Friday

The six divisions of Shelby County General Sessions Civil Court will be closed Friday for the funeral of Judge Anthony Johnson. Johnson died of a heart attack last week.

All cases will be continued for one week.

Mental Health hearings at Memphis Mental Health Institute will be held as usual.

Anyone with questions regarding a case should call the clerk’s office at 545-4030.

Paulson Says Changes Needed At Fannie, Freddie

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday that allowing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to return to their old operating ways is not an option.

Congress and the next presidential administration must decide the proper role government should play in supporting home ownership in light of the severe economic costs imposed on the nation from the bursting of the housing bubble, Paulson said.

The government in September took control of Fannie and Freddie, placing them in conservatorship. Paulson offered thoughts on a variety of possible solutions on what should follow that move, but did not endorse any.

One option would be to remove all direct and indirect government support and privatize the companies by breaking them up and selling them. But drawbacks to that approach included that it would likely offer a low rate of return to potential investors, Paulson said in a speech to the Economic Club of Washington.

“I am skeptical that a ‘break it up and privatize it’ option will prove to be a robust or even viable model of any substantial scale without some sort of government support or protection,” he said.

Paulson also raised the possibility of creating a public-utility type of company that would guarantee mortgage credit.

Under this plan, Congress would replace Fannie and Freddie with one or two private sector entities that would purchase and securitize mortgages with a credit guarantee backed by the federal government. The new companies would be privately owned but governed by a rate-setting commission that would establish a targeted rate of return, he said.

Such a proposal would be able to address the inherent conflicts between private ownership and public purpose that must be resolved to avoid the potential for another crisis in mortgage financing, Paulson said.

Washington-based Fannie Mae and McLean, Va.-based Freddie Mac own or guarantee around half of the $10.6 trillion in U.S. outstanding home loan debt.

TennCare Asks for Relief From Long-Running Lawsuit

TennCare officials have asked a federal judge for relief from a two-decade-old lawsuit so money can be redirected as state budget cuts are made.

With TennCare among agencies reducing spending by 15 percent or possibly more, the agency has provided updated information to a Nashville judge about how the relief could help offset cuts such as eliminating supplemental payments to hospitals to save about $173 million.

The 1987 court order prohibits the state from redetermining the eligibility of people who were originally enrolled in TennCare Medicaid when they became eligible for Social Security (SSI) benefits, but later no longer qualified for SSI.

Under the court order, the state is barred from disenrolling those who do not qualify for TennCare.

Late Loan Payments Hit Record High in Q3

Late payments on consumer loans in last year’s third quarter hit the highest level since record keeping began in 1980, the American Bankers Association reported Wednesday.

The association said delinquencies rose to a seasonally adjusted 2.9 percent from 2.68 percent in the second quarter. The number is a composite ratio reflecting the percentage of accounts across eight categories of consumer loans with payments overdue 30 days or longer.

The previous record was 2.88 percent, set in the third quarter of 1989, ABA spokeswoman Carol Kaplan said.

The Washington-based ABA reported delinquencies hit record levels in the July-through-September period for two types of loans: indirect auto loans and home equity lines of credit.

Indirect auto loans, which account for 90 percent of auto loans, are bank loans arranged through a third party such as an auto dealer. Delinquencies for those loans jumped to 3.25 percent from 3.07 percent in the second quarter, the ABA reported. The previous record in that category was 3.13 percent, set in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Delinquencies for home equity lines of credit rose to 1.15 percent from 1.08 percent. The previous quarterly high in that category was 1.1 percent, set in last year’s first quarter.

“The No. 1 factor in rising consumer credit delinquencies is job losses,” said James Chessen, the ABA’s chief economist. “With 1 million jobs lost in the first three quarters (of 2008) and two and a half million expected for the year, delinquencies of all types of consumer loans will likely increase in the coming quarters.”

The bankcard category was one of only two that showed a third-quarter decline in delinquencies, dropping to 4.2 percent of all accounts from 4.54. The other category that fell was direct auto loans, with delinquencies declining to 1.71 percent from 1.77 percent.

In addition to indirect auto loans, categories that make up the composite ratio and posted increases in third-quarter delinquencies included: property improvement, marine, recreational vehicle, mobile home, personal loans and home equity loans.

Ridgeway High Authorized For Baccalaureate Diploma

Ridgeway High School will become the first Memphis city school authorized to teach the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.

The program encourages international mindedness in students and asks them to participate in community service, learn a second language and develop an understanding of their own cultural and national identity.

The pre-IB coursework and the IB program will be components of Ridgeway’s optional program next year. The IB program is a two-year curriculum and ends with final examinations.

The programs are available through more than 2,000 IB World Schools in 132 countries.

RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 58 277 18,664
MORTGAGES 38 206 14,498
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 5 18 1,277
BUILDING PERMITS 154 474 35,340
BANKRUPTCIES 44 119 5,397
BUSINESS LICENSES 12 75 2,728
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0